December 1, 2020

Primary Document: Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) Writes to GPO in Support of October ARL Letter

Full Text of Letter From Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) to GPO (2 Pages; PDF)

From the Letter:

As noted in the ARL statement, there is no doubt that the scholars and other public users increasingly prefer digital delivery of information—a fact borne out by the emphasis GPO itself now gives to digital delivery of current government information. While GPO has not successfully secured funding to convert older government documents from print to digital format, the CIC universities have risen to the task, investing staff time and scarce dollars to scan hundreds of thousands of volumes of the legacy print documents collection. These digital files are aggregated in the HathiTrust Digital Library, where they are made freely and openly accessible to users worldwide and archivally secured for future generations of users. This is an expensive and challenging task, but one willingly pursued by these educational institutions—both public and private— as a means of fulfilling their mission to sustain an informed citizenry. CIC institutions are investing in this digitization, as well as contributing funds to support HathiTrust, fully intending that the dividends from these investments will accrue to all.

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The proposal noted in the ARL statement for the University of Minnesota to support selective depository libraries in Michigan—including CIC members Michigan State University and the University of Michigan—exemplifies the kind of efficiencies that the CIC universities are seeking in any number of research and instructional programs. Our libraries have full confidence in the ability of the University of Minnesota to administer this program, and believe this approach to be more cost-effective than asking another university to bear the burdens of regional status.

Like ARL, we are surprised that GPO has not embraced the University of Minnesota’s well-considered offer to extend its service area. The University of Minnesota runs an exemplary regional program—one that supports not only libraries in Minnesota but those in South Dakota as well. They have expressed a willingness to add the resources needed to extend the reach of their established program to Michigan. We think this is a workable and efficient plan that will continue the flow of government information to the people of Michigan. Without a viable alternative, GPO’s resistance will visit considerable disruption and inconvenience on the people and libraries of Michigan.

Read the Complete Letter

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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